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Coronation slaw

10 Jul

I love coleslaw. I love coronation chicken. This way I get both in one mouthful. 

What you need:

– cold chicken

– cabbage (white or green, possibly red – your fave cabbage to eat raw – or a mix – very pretty)

– carrots

– greek yoghurt (full-fat)

Curry in the spice-bazaar (egypitan) in Istanbul

Curry in the spice-bazaar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– curry powder

– olive oil

Optional: sultanas, flaked almonds, toasted sesame seeds

What to do:

– Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a small pan, and add two tablespoons of curry powder. Over low heat, warm through for five minutes to release the flavours of the curry powder. Let it cool.

– chop the chicken into bite-sized bits and put in a large mixing bowl

– slice the cabbage finely or grate in a food processor; add to chicken in bowl

– grate the carrots

NB ratio of cabbage : carrot : chicken = 3:2:1, but change if you prefer.

– Spoon yoghurt into a separate mixing bowl and add the curry-flavoured oil to yoghurt and mix well.

– Pour spicy yoghurt over cabbage mix, add optional sultanas, almonds, sesame, and mix well.

– Serve with tomato and onion salad and crusty bread.

Delicious for summer lunch or as a dinner party starter.

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The great chicken plan

10 Jul
English: Chicken and rabbit meat pie

Ah, yes, and chicken pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s cunning. It’s cheap, easy, delicious and cheap. Did I mention easy? This is my once-a-week thing.

Step 1 – acquire chicken.

Step 2 – put chicken in big pot and fill with water.

Step 3 – bring to boil then simmer for 2 hours on low-ish heat.

Step 3 – let it cool in the pot

Step 4 – when cool, take most of meat off bones for humans and put in fridge

Step 5 – take all the rest of the meat, gristle, skin, unidentifiable brown bits from inside, put in another container in fridge.

Step 6 – put bones, now reduced to small heap, in third container, in fridge.

Step 7 – pour delicious rich stock into container and put in fridge.

Now you have:

a) tender meat for making into risotto, pasta sauce, pate, potted chicken, sandwiches, salads, stir fries, fricassee, etc.

b) stock for soup, risotto, etc

c) bits of meat that you would discard that your pets will eat with enormous pleasure

d) heap of soft bones for stray dogs or foxes – or if none of those hungry creatures are local to you, for the dustbin.

Result: every day I have soup for lunch, made from the chicken stock, a little seasoning, any leftover rice, barley, pasta, potato, white sauce, cream cheese etc that’s in the fridge, and a bit of fresh or leftover veg. Cram in small saucepan, heat through till everything’s yummy, and eat.

I also have the makings of creamy chicken risotto, quick sandwiches, salad of chicken bits, leaves, cucumber, celery, fresh herbs, with olive oil and fresh lime juice dressing; there’s my delish coronation slaw, too (more later).

Cats are veryvery happy with their bits, and hungry dogs get the bones – soft enough not to splinter and choke them.

Everyone wins (except the chicken).

Slow roast pork, tender and rich

6 Jun
roast pork loin, potatoes

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was prompted by the Ranting Chef’s post yesterday to tell you about my slow-roast pork, which is always a guaranteed winner for any occasion, even if you’re on your own (piggy, piggy). [Beware: if you do this for a party, make you sure you get some early, because it vanishes before you can say crackling.]

Scour the supermarket shelves for the largest pork joint you can find. Doesn’t really matter what joint it is as long as it’s pork and not bacon, ham, gammon or suchlike – unsullied roasting pork – leg, shoulder, belly. Carving will be immaterial – the meat will fall off the bone if there is one. If you’re lucky, you can find a big joint on sale, which makes it even tastier, somehow…

What: joint of pork bigger than you think you really need (it will all be eaten); packet of mixed herbs; cheapest bottle of dry white wine or cava; salt

How: The day before you want to eat it, ie 24 hours ahead, put the pork in a deep (3″ – 4″) roasting dish (cut it in half if it’s too long and nest the two halves side by side). For good crackling, cut deep slashes into the skin all over the top and sides and rub salt into the skin. Pat the mixed herbs all over the pork, including underneath – be generous. Slosh the white wine or cava (I used an old bottle of cava that had lost its fizz a bit, so no good for drinking – perfect for cooking) into the roasting pan – use the whole bottle, or as much as will go into the pan. If pan too small, get bigger pan. The wine keeps the pork moist and makes the most delicious, aromatic gravy.

Stuff pork in oven on high heat for half an hour, then turn the oven to its lowest setting and leave it for 24 hours. This is very difficult, as the smell of the roasting joint will torment you, especially when you come down for breakfast. But do not give in to temptation. LEAVE IT. Check that it’s doing okay and hasn’t dried out too much – if there’s no liquid or almost no liquid in the pan, slosh in some more wine. If there’s a lot of grease, pour some off into a bowl (not down the sink) and put the joint back into the oven.

For the crackling, I’d suggest taking the crackling off the meat half an hour before serving. Keep the meat warm and let it rest, and put the crackling back in a hot oven until it’s bubbly and crisp. You can make the gravy at this point, too. Take the juice from the pan, pouring off excess fat, and either serve as is, or thicken with a little flour or cornflour and top up with a little boiling water if necessary.

For a dinner party, serve with garlic mashed potatoes or a herb risotto, and a green salad; for a party, it would be the centre piece of a buffet. Don’t worry, it won’t be around long enough to go cold…

Comfort food – chicken and beetroot in white sauce

30 May
CDC beets

CDC beets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my top comfort dishes from childhood sounds unlikely, but it’s scrumptious, and rather pretty.

What?

1 chicken

several raw beetroot (beets, in US)

white sauce

rice

How?

Simmer the chicken in water until the meat almost falls off the bone, and you have a good chicken stock as well.

Cook the rice (when I was a kid, it was white long-grain, but I now prefer brown basmati) as per packet instructions.

Cook the beetroot – boil it (scrubbed but skin on) or roast it (peeled and coated in olive oil and herbs). This takes the longest (over an hour), especially boiling. Put the beetroot on at the same time as the chicken.

Make the white sauce (what the French call Sauce anglaise): oil or butter in a small pan, with enough flour to soak up the oil/butter. Cook gently over a low heat for two or three minutes till the oily flour mix bubbles and looks like a honeycomb. Add milk and whisk to blend it with the flour and butter. Keep adding milk as the sauce thickens, until you get to the consistency of double cream. Season with a bit of salt, black pepper, perhaps a few chopped herbs eg basil and thyme. Keep stirring and if you get lumps, whisk in the pan till smooth. If the sauce is ready before anything else, you can turn the heat off and leave it till it’s all ready to serve.

Once the chicken, beetroot and rice are done (all very forgiving if your timing is a bit out of sync), take chunks off the chicken (carving is a bit redundant as it’s so eager to part with the bone), put on a bed of rice with a serving of beetroot, drizzle white sauce in an artistic fashion (or, as I call it, a blanket), and eat. Green salad makes it look even prettier.

Not low-carb or low-anything much, but the beetroot’s fabulously good for you, and it’s a meal that leaves you comforted and cheered.

The chicken stock is brilliant for soups and sauces for several days. The juice from boiling the beetroot is full of minerals, so drink it, or add it to veg soup. Don’t waste it!